Pilot scheme could give low-paid staff discounted car parking

PUBLISHED: 12:48 16 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:48 06 May 2010

DISCOUNTED car-parking charges for low-paid staff who commute into Harpenden from outside the district is on the cards as a way to help business in the recession. The pilot scheme is being considered and if approved could come into effect late next Spring

DISCOUNTED car-parking charges for low-paid staff who commute into Harpenden from outside the district is on the cards as a way to help business in the recession.

The pilot scheme is being considered and if approved could come into effect late next Spring. And if it proves successful in Harpenden, it could then be extended to St Albans.

The discounted spaces idea is being investigated by St Albans District Council. It comes after leading private-sector employers expressed concern about parking issues in the district which, along with congestion and transport problems, have added to the difficulties they are experiencing due to the economic downturn.

If the scheme goes ahead, Harpenden Town Council would provide 20 spaces in Lydekker car park while the district council would provide 20 spaces in both the Bowers Way and Amenbury Lane car parks.

Harpenden town councillor Mike Weaver said the idea came from the smaller retailers themselves who had become increasingly anxious about being able to attract staff to work in their shops and estate agencies.

He said: "Many of these smaller shops employ part-timers from outside the area earning not a lot of money. The employers are happy to pay their parking as a way of keeping good-calibre staff."

It is proposed that the cost of the £470 season ticket for the car parks be reduced to between £200 and £300 per year.

The discounted spaces would be allocated to employers possibly on a first-come, first-served basis but the method has yet to be decided.

If the pilot scheme is approved it is likely to come into effect from May 2009.

A district council spokesperson said no decisions as to whether the scheme could be extended to St Albans would be taken until the outcome of the pilot scheme was known.

The town council is also considering extending its one-hour free on-street parking to two hours in response to demands from retailers to give shoppers more time to access shops in the high street.

But opponents of the scheme argue this could cut the number of shoppers able to visit the centre.


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